Berlin Jukebox: Baladino

Article published on May 2, 2014
Article published on May 2, 2014

The Is­raeli folk band "Bal­adino" lives among dif­fer­ent coun­tries, lan­guages and cul­tures. Based in both Berlin and Tel Aviv, they use dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy to pro­duce their rous­ing hy­brid music of Ladino me­olodies and world music rhythms. Cafébabel Berlin met with two of the Berlin-based band­mem­bers. 

Var­i­ous mu­si­cal in­flu­ences, a life in Berlin and Tel Aviv, and 25 in­stru­ments on the stage in con­cert; one wouldn't as­sume that Bal­adino is a drab main­stream band. The band, which was started in 2012, wants to do its own thing. 

"La ku­mi­da 'la manya­na" from the new album "Dos Aman­tes". 

How would you de­scribe your style?

Yael Badash: We play folk. Our music is in­flu­enced by tra­di­tional melodies, such as Ladino (Jew­ish-Span­ish, Ed.) melodies. But we also allow our­selves to be in­spire by music from around the world.

Such as?

Yael: In Berlin we were re­ally in­flu­enced by Turk­ish music, be­cause their cul­ture plays a big role here. We even took lessons. Other than that, we com­bine our folk with elec­tronic music. 

Then you're in the right place, here in Berlin. What does the cap­i­tal city sym­bol­ize for you?

Thomas Moked: My grand­par­ents are from Berlin. And I al­ways wanted to live in a place where you can get to know your roots. After all, you can't just learn about your back­ground; you have to live it. 

Yael: But it can also be help­ful when learn­ing and liv­ing a cul­ture to rein­vent and find your­self. And that in turn helps you un­der­stand music. 

Thomas: Be­sides, Berlin has a cer­tain rhythm. It re­ally helps ground you. I was re­ally sur­prised to see peo­ple read­ing out­side in the mid­dle of the day. Here you can work and live. 

But your band­mates Yon­nie Dror, Adam Ben Ezra and Yshai Af­ter­man live in Tel Aviv. How does your col­lab­o­ra­tion work?

Thomas: It's a lot more dif­fi­cult when you live in the same city be­cause you can eas­ily get dis­tracted. Ever since we've stopped liv­ing in the same city, we've re­ally been able to make music to­gether.

Yael: We're just a lot more fo­cussed on our work. 

Thomas: We take care of most of the work over the in­ter­net. You can get Skype calls in the mid­dle of the night and mu­tu­ally work on music. And when we feel we're ready, we meet for a week and work to­gether in the same place. This one week is re­ally where it's at. It's like a long dis­tance re­la­tion­ship. When you fi­nally see each other, you im­me­di­ately want to do every­thing to­gether.

And that's the case with Bal­adino?

Thomas: Yeah. We recorded our al­bum, for ex­am­ple, in one and a half days. You can only man­age that if you know the oth­ers re­ally well. With whom there's good chem­istry. We're even able to im­pro­vise on stage every now and then. The longer you work with some­one, the bet­ter it gets.

You just came back from a six week long tour in the USA. What's next on the list?

Yael: We just re­leased our new album in Is­rael, and plan on start­ing on a new pro­ject soon. We want to record our next ablum here in Berlin this up­com­ing sum­mer. Nat­u­rally the city will in­flu­ence the album's style. We also want to have a con­cert here. 

Also brand new: "Quan­do el rey Nim­rod".

CAFÉBABEL BERLIN has turned on the jukebox

Fed up with the eter­nal sun­shine of top 10 hits, radio loops and Spo­tify playlists? From April 2014 on­wards, we will in­tro­duce you to young mu­si­cians, DJs and live acts from Berlin who still have the mu­si­cal power to sur­prise you. Check out the juke­box! More tracks and playlists on Face­book and Twit­ter.